People often think of Lyme disease as a


People often think of Lyme disease as a
People often think of Lyme disease as a
threat to humans, but it is also a threat
to dogs and cats. If you own a pet, you
have probably encountered a tick at
some point.
Ticks carry disease. Two ticks commonly found in Connecticut are the deer
tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the dog tick
(Dermacentor variabilis). Fortunately,
dog ticks do not carry Lyme disease in
ment. Antibiotics are administered
for four to six weeks.
Lyme disease can affect pets differently.
Some animals may show subtle symptoms while others may show none at
all. Prevention is the key to eliminating
Lyme disease in your pet. Always run
your hands through the coat of your pet
when it comes inside. You will usually
feel a bump where the tick is attached.
In pets, symptoms of Lyme disease are
hard to recognize and often, may be
confused with other illnesses or old age.
Be observant of you pet’s actions. It is
the only way to know if your pet has
contracted Lyme disease if no tick was
Symptoms of Canine Lyme disease include:
Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an
infected deer tick. Deer ticks are tiny,
about the size of a pinhead. They live
for two years, pass through four life
stages, and need a blood meal to pass
from larva to nymph to adult. They
feed on humans and many types of animals, including dogs, cats, cattle and
Ticks can easily hide unnoticed in your
pet’s fur. Always look for and remove
ticks! Pets can become infected with
Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases. They also can carry ticks into
your house where they can attach to
humans and transmit diseases to your
Cats can get Lyme disease too, although it is less common, possibly
because they tend to groom the
ticks off themselves before they
attach. Indoor cats are less likely
to contract Lyme disease, but even
they are not immune. Lyme disease
does not appear to pose a major
threat to cats. Its most dangerous
feature is that it may go unnoticed
and undiagnosed.
If your cats are outside unattended,
check them daily for ticks just like
you would your dog. Seek veterinary care at once if you suspect your
pet has Lyme disease.
Limping (usually one foreleg) - progresses over 3 to 4 days. Once the dog
starts to be affected by the bacteria,
Lyme disease can progress from a mild
discomfort to the stage where a dog will
be in such joint and muscle pain it will
refuse to move. In addition, the bacteria can affect the dog’s heart muscle,
nerve tissue, eyes and kidneys.
Symptoms of Feline Lyme disease
Lymph node swelling in the affected
Limping or seeming unwilling to
allow a limb to bear weight.
Little movement for days at a
time. Your cat will be unwilling to
get up and move around or it will
cry when being picked up.
Hesitant about jumping or climbing stairs.
Pain in muscles and joints.
If the disease is diagnosed in time,
antibiotic treatment can cure the dog
before permanent nerve or joint damage
Dogs treated within the first week of
symptoms will respond rapidly to treat-
Loss of appetite.
Feline Lyme disease is treated with
antibiotics which are effective if
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Keep cats indoors. Cats should
wear a flea and tick collar or be treated with a tick repellent available
through your veterinarian.
treatment is started early. Cats which
may have had Lyme disease may
become reinfected through subsequent
tick bites.
Conduct daily pet checks! Check
pets for ticks after each outing, especially between toes, around eyes and
ears, and skin folds. Prompt and
appropriate tick removal will prevent
transmission of the Lyme disease bacteria.
Pull off the ticks you find carefully.
Use thin-tipped tweezers or forceps and
grasp where mouth parts enter the
skin. Pull upward in a slow, steady
motion. Do not squeeze tick or use
other methods of removal. Clean bite
area with an antiseptic or soap and
Reduce the tick population around
your home by making simple landscape modifications. Refer to Target
Lyme Disease “Get Your BackYard in the
Zone” brochure for effective recommendations.
Use flea and tick shampoo if needed.
No repellent will keep every single
tick off of your pet. Conduct daily
pet checks on all indoor and outdoor pets and remove ticks promptly
before disease can spread.
Note: Ticks can enter your home on
clothing or on other outdoor pets. Ticks
can live in your home for several days
before dessicating (drying up). Avoid
sleeping with your pets and check them
daily for ticks.
A special thank you to Schulhof Animal
Hospital, Westport, for its help in developing
this brochure.
LD 03-10
Walk your pets in the center of trails
to avoid overhanging brush. Dogs and
cats should be kept from roaming into
brushy areas and leaf piles. Dogs
should wear a flea and tick collar.
Use a veterinary tick-control product. These products absorb into the
skin and allow approximately 30 days
worth of protection against ticks.
Sprays, collars, powders and dips can
be used as an alternative. Multiple
products should not be used at the
same time and product should be formulated for your pet (dog or cat).